The Beauty Of Better Bikers

Andrew Sullivan —  Feb 8 2014 @ 11:25am

Bill Andrews points to a study that “shows statistically that attractiveness correlated positively with performance among cyclists who completed the 2012 Tour de France.” The idea behind the study:

Just get headshots of 80 male cyclists who finished the grueling Tour de France, put them up on, and have people rate them on a scale of 1–5 (5 being the dreamiest). Then, compare the cyclists’ hot-or-not ratings with how they did in the race. Sole author Erik Postma also asked the participants to rate the man’s masculinity and likeability, and asked whether the rater, if female, was on hormonal contraception.

The results were clear. The most attractive men were also, unbeknownst to raters, the riders that performed best. This correlation was strongest in women not on the pill. (The effect was about the same for women on it and men, interestingly enough.) A rider’s perceived masculinity didn’t seem to have anything to do with his performance; there was a positive relationship between performance and likeability but it, too, was mostly dependent on the guy’s looks.